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Some schools win | Tax cuts > radiation leaks | Trump targets tips | Putin tweets

Wednesday, February 14, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Voters approve most King County school levies in Tuesday’s early returns — Of the 29 levy measures, 22 were passing, while two of the three bond measures were passing. In King County, 16 school districts asked voters to approve levy measures.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — More than a few school measures appear to be failing — Property tax levies that support day-to-day operations were failing in four Snohomish County school districts Tuesday night: Darrington, Lake Stevens, Marysville and Snohomish.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — All Spokane County school levies pass, most by overwhelming margins

► In today’s Daily News — Kelso voters overwhelmingly approve historic bond, school levy

MORE local coverage of school and other levy votes in today’s Kitsap Sun, (Longview) Daily News, Olympian, Peninsula Daily News, Skagit Valley Herald, Tri-City Herald(Vancouver) Columbian, Walla Walla U-B, Wenatchee World, and the Yakima H-R.

► From The Stranger — KUOW staffers overwhelmingly elect to unionize — Staffers at Seattle’s most prominent National Public Radio affiliate are getting a union. “We’re really looking forward to this new chapter at KUOW,” said Ann Dornfeld, a reporter and member of the organizing committee, in an interview. “We think it will be good not only for our workers but for our listeners.”

ALSO at The Stand — KUOW public radio staff elects to join SAG-AFTRA

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Nurses said Regional forced them to work off the clock. Now they’re getting paid. — Judge Blaine Gibson ruled last week that then-Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center forced its home care nurses to work additional hours without pay. The nurses worked in the hospital’s home health and hospice programs. Their union, Washington State Nurses Association, filed suit against the hospital in 2015, alleging the nurses were only paid for eight-hour shifts but forced to work additional hours without pay.

► In the News Tribune — Almost half of Pierce County workers could be replaced by robots, analysis shows — Roughly half of workers in Pierce County have jobs a University of Oxford study rated as having a high probability of becoming automated in the future, including positions in retail, food prep, truck driving, and the labor industry.




► MUST-READ in today’s Seattle Times — Sorry, Hanford: Your radiation leaks aren’t as important as tax cuts (by Danny Westneat) — The maddening disconnect in politics goes on, as politicians who just two months ago slashed taxes are demanding more money for the increasingly unstable and dangerous Hanford nuclear-waste cleanup. Check out the local congressman for the Tri-Cities, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th). He made headlines Tuesday by vowing to fight Trump’s proposal to significantly cut Hanford cleanup money: “Now is not the time to jeopardize worker safety or impede this vital cleanup,” he said.

But just last week, Newhouse cited rising deficits as an argument against more spending. Worse, in December, when the Hanford cost estimates were exploding and the cleanup melting down, Newhouse voted to cut federal taxes by $1.5 trillion. Congressman: You don’t get to slash taxes, decry the deficits and demand big spending, all in the same political sentence!

Hanford Challenge, which has watchdogged the Hanford project for 32 years, says the cleanup now is in a dangerous phase. Highly radioactive wastes are being stirred up and moved, but it’s happening in an unrealistic budget environment that almost guarantees corner-cutting… The whole mess is like a metaphor for how the entire federal government is run today. There is talk about big needs, even as they cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, making it harder to address those needs. We the people are distracted by our borrowed bonuses. The crippling disconnect from reality isn’t even acknowledged. The reason I’m harping on this is that the something-for-nothing mentality that pervades national politics has consequences. In this case, the stakes are both very high, and right in our backyard.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Aerospace analyst explains how he’ll help state’s Boeing bid — A skilled, productive labor force, reasonable energy costs and decent infrastructure are potential strengths for Washington as it makes its case to land the manufacturing site for the next plane being developed by the Boeing Co., said aerospace consultant Richard Aboulafia.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Former Sec. of State John Kerry visits Olympia to promote Inslee’s carbon-tax plan — But Kerry didn’t weigh in on perhaps the biggest obstacle to Inslee’s plan: deciding where revenue from the proposed $10-per-ton tax on carbon should go.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Rep. Timm Ormsby rolls Jeep, charged with DUI — The Spokane Democrat was charged with driving under the influence after his vehicle ran off the road and rolled last Saturday in Olympia.

► In today’s Walla Walla U-B — Sen. Walsh to return to work after heart attack — State Sen. Maureen Walsh (R-College Place) is expected back to work Wednesday after suffering a heart attack last month.




► In today’s NY Times — Senate immigration debate gets off to a slow, unhappy start — But even as the floor debate faltered, a bipartisan group of senators was working behind the scenes to draft an immigration proposal that could garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

► From The Hill — McConnell keeps firm grip on immigration debate — The Senate Majority Leader has indicated the debate will conclude at the end of this week. So unless there is a bipartisan breakthrough over the next 48-72 hours on an issue Congress has tried to resolve for more than a decade, immigration reform will once again fall short.

► From The American Prospect — How unions help immigrants resist deportations — In California, labor has long protected its immigrant members — and now, it’s defending non-members as well.

► From Vox — Saving Dreamers is only this hard because Donald Trump has made it this hard (by Ezra Klein) — Trump created a crisis for Dreamers — all this began when he unilaterally decided to end the DACA program — and then refused the obvious compromises that could have fixed it. Now he is threatening a veto of the likeliest bipartisan compromises in the Senate. He has taken 690,000 hostages and is now trumpeting the wonderful opportunity everyone has to pay his policy ransom in order to free them, and he is doing all of it while insisting he desperately wants to free them too.




► In today’s Washington Post — Is Trump joking about ‘strengthening the federal workforce’? (by Joe Davidson) — President Trump and his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, must have been in a jocular mood Monday when they issued their fiscal 2019 budget appendix titled “Strengthening the Federal Workforce.” It could have just as easily been called “Picking the Pockets of Federal Employees.”

► From HuffPost — Trump’s ‘tip-pooling’ plan could screw your bartender — Under federal regulations, employers can’t force workers to share their tips with managers or other employees who don’t normally work for gratuities. But now, the restaurant owner-in-chief wants to eliminate those regulations in a way that, in many situations, would give employers the leeway to do whatever they want with the tips. What could possibly go wrong?

► From HuffPost — One year in, Betsy DeVos has supercharged teacher activism — AFT President Randi Weingarten says she has seen increased engagement among her members in the age of Trump and DeVos. She told HuffPost she has recently observed a string of local races where pro-public education advocates have prevailed. More members are showing up at town halls and regional meetings.

► From HuffPost — Why the first unionized political campaign is a game-changer for the left (by Daniel Marans) — The campaign staff of Democrat and union ironworker Randy Bryce, who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), announced on Monday that they had unionized and ratified what is by all accounts the first collective bargaining contract negotiated by political campaign workers… This first contract of the new Campaign Workers Guild is more than just a statement of values from a progressive Democratic candidate and his ideologically-minded workers. If the vision of the union’s founders comes to fruition, the union could transform campaign work from an often precarious, high-turnover job into a sustainable career path.




► In today’s Washington Post — Employers who don’t offer paid sick leave are making flu season worse and hurting their own bottom line — This winter’s flu season is shaping up to be a nasty one, with flu-related hospitalization rates outpacing anything seen in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year’s vaccine is less effective against the strain of virus making the rounds. But there’s another factor that gives aggressive viruses like this one an extra punch in the United States: lack of access to paid sick time.

► In today’s NY Times — Judges say throw out the map. Lawmakers say throw out the judges. — Legislative unhappiness over a court ruling on Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered congressional map highlights a growing trend toward punishing courts for controversial rulings.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This politicization of the courts has also happened here in Washington state. Legislators like Rep. Matt Manweller actively campaigned to unseat incumbent state Supreme Court justices because they didn’t like the court’s sanctions against the state in the McCleary case.

► From The Onion — Timeline of the U.S. labor movement — 1619: The first labor strike on U.S. soil is organized by Bernie Sanders… 1940: Woody Guthrie vastly overestimates just how much land was made for you and me…




► In today’s NY Times — Russia sees midterm elections as chance to sow fresh discord, intelligence chiefs warn — Russia is already meddling in the midterm elections this year, the top American intelligence officials said on Tuesday, warning that Moscow is using a digital strategy to worsen the country’s political and social divisions. Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — If you want to determine if you are arguing on social media with a Russian bot, check out Hamilton 68, a dashboard that displays data about Russian propaganda efforts on Twitter in near-real time. Today, for example, Putin & Co. are trying to undermine confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray because he has contradicted Trump’s version of events regarding the White House’s handling of domestic violence allegations against senior White House official Rob Porter.


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